Huskies wrap up non conference play. Now what?
By Shannon Drayer
The Huskies post game press conference following their 74-51 win over Cal State Northridge was short. Very short. Not more than twelve minutes total for the coach and three players. There was not much to be said. They got the job done, won the day. Something they will have to do near eighteen times in the next three months if they want any shot of a return trip to the NCAA Tournament. Lorenzo Romar knows his team’s backs are against the wall heading into conference play. Does his team realize this?
“I don’t know if we truly understand it but we have to make sure we don’t have many setbacks when we start Pac 12 play,” Romar said.
His team took a step forward after the game against South Dakota State. They had to and honestly it would seem near impossible not to. The message that they had to improve was not delivered before the game rather it played out in practice all week.
“If we had to make a pre game speech today to get them motivated then we are not going to win any more games,” Romar said. “Hopefully when we practiced our guys understood what was important and what was not.”
According to Tony Wroten who finished tonight’s game with 12 points the message was received.
“(Practices were) tough, real tough. No room for error, no room for mistakes or we were running. You can’t mess up.” he said.
The Huskies displayed better energy, better defense, better awareness for the open man. It was just one game however. One game against a team that is struggling mightily in the Big West Conference. Pac 12 play will be much different.
“Everybody knows what you are going to do,” Terrence Ross said of the Pac 12. “Every possession counts. You have to be smart. It is going to be a war every night because any team can beat any team in this league. It is going to be a scrappy grind it out kind of league this year. I think it is going to be really close.”
Wroten realizes there is little room for error for the Huskies.
“We are going to have to compete every night,” he said. “We can’t let up. Just real, real, small room for error. We can’t let up.”
Because of the position the Huskies are in having put up no wins against ranked or near ranked teams in non conference play they are going to have to take the rest of the season one game at a time. They looked good tonight but they have looked good in previous early games only to come out looking like a completely different team the next time out. We really don’t know what they are right now.
Of course we are not sure what many of the rest of the teams are either. It is clearly a down year for the Pac 12 but teams will get hot and play will improve. Romar finds it impossible at this point to get a clear picture of just what the league will look like.
“OSU is playing good basketball,” he said. “Cal is playing good basketball, Stanford, don’t count out UCLA. They made some changes with their roster and they have won 6 straight. Arizona is going to be right there. I can’t tell you because there are a couple of teams that most thought wouldn’t be playing the way they are right now. UCLA is a team that was picked to win the league. They had a slow start and now they are playing.”
One thing is for sure said Romar in closing.
“We better be ready to play.”